• The 2 000 labourers are not the first to lose jobs
CHIREDZI – A Lacoste politician, Ailes Baloyi shocked people gathered at a Zanu PF inter-district meeting on Wednesday last week when he said that he didn't care about the 2 000 workers who will lose jobs when Government goes ahead with plans to take over 4 000 hectares of a sugarcane estate from Tongaat Hulett, the country's sole sugar producer.
Baloyi who is acting Zanu PF vice chairman for Masvingo Province said there was nothing special about Tongaat workers losing jobs because they were not the first to do so under the Government land redistribution programme.
He said thousands of workers lost jobs at Mazowe Citrus in Mash Central and many other places in the country and it all came to pass.
Speaking amid boos from delegates gathered at Tshovani Stadium, Baloyi who is one of the beneficiaries of the emerging plots said there is no going back in taking the land from Tongaat despite the outcry from many quarters.
One angry supporter at the meeting said what annoyed her most about the seizure of land from Tongaat was that the beneficiaries are multi-plot owners who have benefitted a lot from Government land programmes.
"You are multiple-plot owners and we do not have anything. We depend on Tongaat for our livelihood, can you have mercy on us the poor and leave Tongaat Hullet alone.
"Thousands of our families are benefitting from the company. Please shut up about that because it shows us you only care for yourselves," said a woman identified as Viola Mahenye of Ward 3.
"We were given plots in part of Tongaat estate but there is a lot of noise over the move. Why is there noise over Tongaat when many other companies like Mazoe Citrus were easily seized? What is so important about workers in the sugar industry, many others were left unemployed in the farms, industries and plantations seized at the height of the land reform. We will not go back on this land take-over" said Baloyi.
Baloyi was quickly forced to change the subject as delegates hurled insults at him.